Inspired by the seas, the stunning new Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 is the stewardship of a raging technical storm

Inspired by the seas, the stunning new Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 is the stewardship of a raging technical storm

The new Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 is a complete package. A technical powerhouse, it is a beauty — the guilloché-peaked wave motif dial — with a soul — tourbillon meets perpetual calendar meets equation of time — to match. Breguet should be proud of it.

Let’s take a step back in time to understand why.

In 1815, Abraham-Louis Breguet was appointed as the Horloger de la Marine Royale, or the Chronometer-Maker to the French Royal Navy.

In simple terms, he was now the official watchmaker.

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

The watches that were subsequently produced by him for this purpose had to be extremely accurate so that they could govern the reliability of the French naval clocks and royal expeditions.

Featuring the now trademark visual aesthetic codes such as the Breguet hands and the engine-turned guilloché motifs, these came to be defined by their use of an easily removable detent escapement mounted so as to facilitate maintenance.

Now when a brand builds a watch upon a legacy such as this, it should be proud. Heck I know I would be.

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

The Context 

This new watch forms a part of Breguet’s Marine collection. It is a follow up to the navy dial platinum version from 2017 that paved the way for an updated Marine collection. It looked handsome in blue but somehow the colour made the dial fairly messy.

This time around it has been released in a beautiful 18-carat rose gold case with slate-coloured dial in gold, featuring hand-engraving on a rose engine.

It thankfully retains the slightly off-centred quirkiness of the hours chapter ring and the guilloché ‘wave pattern’ of the dial and the slate colour makes it visually less busy and more appealing.

This new gold and slate combination makes it walk the fine line between pocket watch inspired dress watches and a luxury sports watch with finesse. 

As the name says, it is an aquatic inspired collection, it’s roots running deep into the history of the brand. And harping to the link between the Marine collection and the sea is the guilloché-peaked wave motif in the centre of the dial.

The Guilloché Dials

Before we head into the technical prowess of this release, one of the most striking features is the ‘wave pattern’ on the dial face. It works wonders on a watch that is nautical themed. 

This wave pattern is a result of the guilloché decoration on the dial, also known as engine-turning.

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

Abraham-Louis Breguet was among the first to introduce guilloché decoration to watch dials. Guilloché or engine-turning is the art of precision-engraving of materials in grids of straight, curved, broken lines or circular shapes & linear patterns.

Besides giving the dial a playful character, its anti-reflective properties also allow easier readability of the dial.

The History 

Like Breitling, Breguet is another brand that has braved the storm of the current COVID-19 crisis and has managed to release some new watches.

Recently we looked at the new Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367. Full of timeless elegant charm, both these watches share very similar design codes, yet manage to look completely different. 

I am mentioning this release because they both feature a Breguet tourbillon at 5’o clock.

And for any Breguet watch that features a tourbillon, we have extra respect given the escapement was developed and patented by the namesake founder. 

We have covered more about the history & tourbillon movement here. So the watch we are looking at today is a solid two centuries in the making. 

Grande Complication

Besides the connection with the naval history and the use of guilloché dials, this new watch is also remarkable for the “Grande Complication” which includes an equation of time; perpetual calendar —  calendar that automatically corrects itself to take account of long and short months, including 29 February in leap years — featuring day, retrograde date, month and leap year indications; a power-reserve indicator; solar minutes hand with a facetted golden sun; and an off-centred tourbillon. 

If we had to compare this watch in terms of similar watches revealed this year, this release would be most similar to the new 2020 Greubel Forsey QP à Équation

The QP à Équation presents an innovative mix of eye-pleasing vintage-nostalgia-meets-future-tech vibe but is ultimately different as it features complications on both sides: the dial front side and the case back side.

So what is this Equation of Time?

Back in the days of the yore, when sailing was a very crucial part of mankind’s existence and exploration, this concept made more sense than it does now. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. 

Humans have used the Sun as the basis of time measurement for centuries. We can still use sundials — sundials tell the time of day when there is sunlight by the apparent position of the Sun in the sky. Using a flat plate and a gnomon, a shadow is cast onto the dial to help reading of the time — but because of the visible orbit of the Sun, the true solar time shown on sundials is irregular.

This is where the equation of time comes in handy.

It is the difference between mean solar time that is our civil time based on a conventional twenty-four-hour period and the true solar time, which varies with the earth’s irregular orbit around the sun. 

The new Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 manages to display civil time and true-time simultaneously, with the help of two distinctive minutes hands. 

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

The Equation of Time Marchante

Breguet’s new watch works a bit differently than how a usual equation of time watch would. The Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 includes two minute hands, a traditional civil minute hand and a second minute hand showing solar time.

You would have noticed that at 5’o clock, nestled alongside the tourbillon is a kidney-bean shaped cam on a sapphire disc. This disc is meant to complete one rotation per year. This rotation equals one equation of time cycle. 

What the new Breguet watch does is introduce a new and easy way of reading both the civil and solar times simultaneously. 

They have achieved this by taking the transparent sapphire disc, marking months (in black) of the year along its perimeter, and completing the mechanism with a set of gears called a ‘differential’ that is able to combine two separate inputs into one output. 

So when the civil minute’s indication is produced by the main gear train of the watch, the equation of time information is read following the cam’s form. Thus, the differential, in effect, performs the formula for calculating solar time (civil time plus equation of time) which is displayed by the solar minute hand. With two minute hands, you as the owner can read civil time and solar time simply at a glance.

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

Technical Storm – The Specifications

The heart used in the reference 5887BR/G2/9WV — calibre 581DPE  — is a self-winding movement numbered and signed featuring 57 jewels, 563 components, beating at the frequency of 4 hertz (28’800 vph), and owing to a Breguet patented high-energy barrel, allowing the wearer an impressive 80-hour power reserve. The balance wheel, spiral, and the escapement are placed within a carriage that makes one rotation per minute so as to cancel out rate errors resulting from gravitational forces.

The 16 ¾ lignes (or 16 ¾ ‴ as the brand sometimes likes to say) diameter movement is composed of a silicon balance spring, silicon escape wheel and inverted lateral lever with silicon horns. It features a peripheral oscillating weight, tourbillon, and running equation of time and perpetual calendar complications. 

The above movement is cased inside a 43.9mm diameter and 11.75mm thick 18-carat rose gold (with a finely fluted case-band) body that offers an impressive 100m (10 ATM) water resistance. This fluted case-band is another Breguet trademark that adds to the charm of this particular watch. The fluting is caused by fine grooves enhanced with double beading on the case-band and is achieved by cold-rolling the fluted pattern into the case-band and it is then finished by hand on a mechanical workpiece-holder. 

The Dial

The watch face shows a mesmerising slate-gray dial in gold that is engine-turned by hand. 

It features:

  • Central hour and minute hands; 
  • A peripheral hours chapter ring with Roman numerals in 18-carat rose gold and luminescent dots; 
  • Central solar minute hand with a faceted golden sun; 
  • A day display window at 10.30; month window between 1 and 2’o clock; 
  • Retrograde date on a circular arc running from 9 to 3’o clock shown with anchor-shaped hand; 
  • A power-reserve gauge-type indicator in blue is inside a curved window running from 7 to 8.30; 
  • Small seconds and equation of time cam on the tourbillon axis; 
  • Individual numbering at 4’o clock and Breguet branding at 6’o clock. 

Phew!

And you would think that on a dial that features a numerous complications, legibility could be an issue.

However, complimenting the dial are the faceted Breguet moon-tipped hands in 18-carat rose gold in-filled with luminescent material. The boldness of the Roman numerals along with luminescent dots further helps the readability.

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

Watch Ya Gonna Do About It?

If you spot this in the wild, the complexity of the dial will surely make you look twice. The most striking feature of this dial is the use of the wave-pattern on a slate and gold colour combination. Complimenting further is the brown alligator leather strap with a rose gold triple folding buckle that somehow manages to integrate seamlessly with the lugs.

All put together, the new Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 is simply majestic. 

It is a tour de force of watchmaking and a fine example of an Equation of Time depiction. It’s bold and mature, yet fun.

Needless to say, this Grande Complication model has a lot going for it. A technical powerhouse, it is a beauty with a soul to match. 

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

We are particularly impressed by the craftsmanship at the back of the watch. 

Like the front, the display case-back is equally overwhelming and artistically finished. 

A depiction of an ancient flagship of the French Navy, the Royal Louis, has been hand carved across the bridges of the movement. The entirety of the vessel reaches across four bridges and fine details extend from one bridge to another. 

Additionally, the barrel drum bears an illustration of a compass rose that is also engraved by hand.

Marine Tourbillon Équation
Courtesy © Montres Breguet SA. All Rights Reserved.

Coming in at 290,100 AUD, it is no doubt an expensive piece but is nonetheless one heck of a horological wonder.

For more information on the Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 and other Breguet watches, head to their website here.